Regional News - Australia/Oceania August 2017

BHP Upgrading Smelter Operations at Olympic Dam

BHP’s Olympic Dam smelter will be enhanced through a A$350 million investment in the operations, which produce copper products for global markets.
Olympic Dam Asset President Jacqui McGill said the smelter maintenance campaign was the largest planned shutdown by BHP in the South Australia.
“There will be 1,300 contractors at Olympic Dam during the peak of construction as teams work around the clock to dismantle, rebuild and upgrade integral components of the facility,” McGill said. “Work is under way on-site with teams preparing to dismantle old infrastructure and starting to take delivery of more than 350 material loads to support the project.”

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Saracen Posts Record Gold Production

Saracen Mineral Holdings Ltd. reported exceptional all-round performance for the June quarter, which saw it post record gold production, achieve its goal of doubling annualized production to 300,000 ounces (oz), and deliver some impressive exploration results. Production for the June quarter was up 23% on the previous quarter at 79,985 oz, a record for the company, which is above the run-rate required to achieve its 300,000-oz-per-year (oz/y) production target.

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Kidman, SQM Forming JV to Develop Mount Holland

Kidman Resources and Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile (SQM) have entered into a binding letter agreement as an initial step toward forming a joint venture to develop Kidman’s Mount Holland lithium project and a proposed downstream lithium refinery in southwest Western Australia. Kidman is an Australian company headquartered in Melbourne, Victoria. SQM is a Chile-headquartered producer and distributor of specialty chemicals, with lithium being a core business function for the past 22 years.

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Regional News - Australia/Oceania July 2017

Rio Tinto Studying Koodaideri Iron Ore Development

Rio Tinto has budgeted A$30.9 million for a feasibility study of development of its Koodaideri iron ore project in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. The study will examine the project as Rio Tinto’s next potential major mining development in the Pilbara, with production intended to replace existing production.

A prefeasibility study of the Koodai-deri project was released in November 2016, outlining a project that would process 40 million metric tons per year (mt/y) of high-grade iron ore through a dry crushing and screening plant. Construction would include non-process infrastructure, product stock-yards, a rail loop and load-out facilities, and a 170-km rail link. Capital required was estimated at $2.2 billion.

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BHP Approves South Flank Initial Funding

On June 26, BHP announced the investment of US$184 million in the South Flank sustaining mine project in central Pilbara, Western Australia. BHP President Operations, Minerals Australia, Mike Henry said the funding would generate several hundred construction jobs and provide opportunities for Western Australian suppliers.

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Regional News - Australia/Oceania June 2017

Mount Gibson Redeveloping Koolan Island Iron Ore Mine

Mount Gibson Iron Ltd. has initiated work to redevelop and restart production from the high-grade Main Pit iron ore deposit at its Koolan Island mine off the north coast of Western Australia. Seawall construction, pit dewatering and all other activities associated with restarting production are anticipated to take approximately 24 months to complete. Mount Gibson is targeting first ore sales from the mine in early 2019.

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Heron Signs Off-take

Agreement for Woodlawn Project In separate announcements in early May, Heron Resources reported it has awarded an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for its wholly-owned Woodlawn project near Tarago, New South Wales, and signed an off-take agreement for 100% of the zinc, copper and lead concentrates to be produced by the project. The EPC contract went to Sedgman. The off-take agreement was signed with Louis Dreyfus Co. Metals and covers the period of about 3.25 years from the start of production through to the end of 2021.

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Underground Mining

Commences at Beresford Dacian Gold announced that underground mining has commenced at Beresford, part of the Westralia Mine Area at the company’s 100% owned Mount Morgans gold project in Western Australia. The first cut of the Beresford portal has been taken from the base of the Westralia open pit and marks the company’s transition from explorer/developer to miner. The Beresford Decline is now focused on accessing the high-grade lodes at the southern end of the Beresford deposit, which is scheduled for November. “This is a tremendous result for the company, its shareholders and employees,” Executive Chairman Rohan Williams said. “We started as an exploration IPO just four and a half years ago, and as a result of our exploration success, we are now firmly on the path to becoming Australia’s next midtier gold producer.” He added that the company is fully funded to first gold production in March 2018.

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Regional News - Australia/Oceania May 2017

Rio Tinto Deals with Bad Weather

In its first quarter production report, Rio Tinto said it shipped 76.7 million metric tons (mt) of iron ore from the Pilbara. The 13% quarter-to-quarter decrease was a attributed to cyclone activity during the period. The company said sections of the rail network were also affected by significant rainfall. Despite the disruptions, shipments were in line with the first quarter of 2016 and guidance for 2017 remains at 330 to 340 million mt.

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Western Areas Evaluates Odysseus Deposits
Western Areas Ltd. has reported positive results for a pre-feasibility study (PFS) of development of an underground nickel mine on the Odysseus South and Odysseus North deposits below the previously mined Cosmos mine 30 km north of the town of Leinster in central Western Australia. The PFS demonstrates commercial viability for a project producing 12,000 mt/y of nickel in concentrate over an initial 7.5-year mine life. The Western Areas board of directors has approved advancing the project to a definitive feasibility study.

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Mining Contract at Mount Morgans Awarded to RUC
Dacian Gold said it would award its underground mining contract for the Mount Morgans gold project in Western Australia (WA) to WA-based underground mining contractor, RUC Cementation Mining (RUC). The agreement covers underground development and production stopping from the Beresford and Allanson underground mines, which together comprise the Westralia Mine Area. Dacian said this agreement will eventually be replaced by a formal underground mining services contract, which will have an initial term of 3 years with two discretionary 1-year extensions, to establish a new portal for Beresford; rehab and existing portal and decline for Allanson; all decline and level development; all ore driving; and all stope production.

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